This was the transfer of Joran van der Sloot to Lima 2:07

(CNN) -- A team of FBI special agents landed Wednesday in Peru as part of procedures for the temporary transfer of Joran Van der Sloot, a suspect in the Natalee Holloway case, a law enforcement source familiar with the operation told CNN.

Federal agents departed Birmingham, Alabama, for Lima, Peru, Wednesday morning aboard a Gulfstream 550 business jet, which the FBI uses for overseas custody transfer missions, the source said. Barring last-minute legal proceedings, Van der Sloot is expected to be transferred Thursday to U.S. custody and return to Alabama with the task force, according to one of the sources.

Van der Sloot is the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway.

The transfer would come after several legal battles surrounding the temporary transfer of Van der Sloot, who is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence in Peru for the 2012 murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores in her Lima hotel room. He is currently being held in the Ancón 1 prison in Peru.

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A lawyer for Van der Sloot argued Monday that his transfer to the United States should be suspended, but the Superior Court of Justice in Lima ordered that he be turned over to FBI agents on Thursday, CNN previously reported.


In the United States, Van der Sloot is charged with federal charges of extortion and wire fraud for allegedly extorting Holloway's mother in 2010 with money in exchange for false information about her daughter's disappearance.

Peru had initially agreed to extradite Van der Sloot to face U.S. justice only after he served his sentence for murder. However, last month the country changed its position and agreed to his temporary transfer to the U.S. to answer for charges of extortion and wire fraud, after which he would be returned to Peru, the judiciary said.

Peru agreed to the "temporary relocation of Van der Sloot to the United States, because he is condemned here and must serve his sentence here," Justice Minister Daniel Maurate said. "But the U.S. needs him to stand trial, and the authorities told us that if he didn't come before the case against him he could fall because the witnesses are elderly."

Dutch national Joran Van der Sloot is photographed during a hearing at Lurigancho prison in Lima on January 13, 2012. (Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Holloway was last seen with Van der Sloot and two other men 18 years ago, as they left a nightclub in Aruba.

Aruban police arrested and released the three men — van der Sloot and brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe — several times in 2005 and 2007 in connection with Holloway's disappearance. The men's lawyers maintained their innocence throughout the investigation.

In December 2007, Aruba's Public Prosecutor's Office said none of the three would be charged and dropped the cases against them, citing insufficient evidence.

Holloway's body has not been found. An Alabama judge signed an order in 2012 declaring her legally dead. No one is currently charged in his death.

Joran Van der Sloot